City of Asheville Water Resources Department celebrates 20 years of environmental certification

tanya rose and leslie carreiro accept the ISO 14001 environmental award

In January 2004, the City of Asheville Water Resources Department became the first water utility in North Carolina to achieve International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001 certification. ISO 14001 is an environmental certification, received by third-party accredited auditors NSF International. Today, Water Resources proudly celebrates 20 years of environmental certification. The award is presented to the ISO Coordinator and Lead Auditor, Tanya Rose, in memory of Audran Stephens, who started the ISO 14001 program in 2004.

According to NSF, ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems is a management tool enabling an organization to identify and control the environmental impact of its activities, products or services, improve its environmental performance continually and implement a systematic approach to setting environmental objectives and targets to achieve these goals and to demonstrate that they have been met.

The environmental policy includes the 4 Cs: Continual improvement, compliance with legal standards, communication, and a commitment to prevent pollution. 

  • Continual improvement projects have included Neighborhood Enhancement Projects, improvements to all three water treatment plants, the North Fork dam improvement project and others. 
  • Regarding compliance, the water department is regulated by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and adheres to all regulations. As such, the Lead Awareness Program has recently been initiated. For more information about these projects and more, visit the city website as well as the annual water quality reports, which are included in customers’ water bills.
  • In order to improve communication, Water Resources recently hired a Communication Specialist. 
  • As part of the commitment to prevent pollution, the water department identifies aspects (products, activities or services) which could have an impact on the environment, and creates objectives and targets to lessen those impacts. 

“Asheville has one of the best water production and distribution systems that I have encountered, and I have been doing this for a long time,” said Chuck Lee, Lead Auditor for NSF. “It’s a very rare and difficult certification to maintain for twenty years, and it shows that the Asheville Water Resources Department displays a sincere desire to help the environment.”